For those who favor political irony with their morning coffee, this week was nothing less than a rip-snortin’ bonanza.
If taken at face value, Sen. David Vitter’s shameless endorsement of Gov. Bobby Jindal for re-election was just another spam email from one sleaze ball schmoozing for another in an effort to put up a united façade in order to promote a common political agenda.
But for those willing to peel back the layers and to look beyond the surface message, it was one knee-slapping guffaw after side-holding chortle as Mr. Family Values tried to keep a straight face while telling us of the mom and apple pie virtues of Mr. Transparency and Accountability.
It’s the kind of material worthy of Saturday Night Live.
Ron White, aka Tater Salad, of Blue Collar Comedy Tour fame, one of the best stand-up comics in the business, was never that funny on his best day. It was enough make us forget Rodney Dangerfield and to force Don Rickles into retirement.
The opening paragraph was innocuous enough, warranting only a derisive snort:
“Wendy and I want to thank you again for all of your friendship. Because we value it so highly, I wanted to pass on two important thoughts about our elections in Louisiana this fall.” (Thank goodness he got the spelling of elections right; it is Vitter, after all.)
The second paragraph elicited the first good laugh:
“You know, we really should stop and remember. It wasn’t long ago that the norm in Louisiana politics was blatant corruption and cronyism (like the present administration, perhaps?) interrupted only once in a while by failed reform or mere incompetence. That’s almost all I knew growing up here.” (Well, that explains trolling the red light districts.)
Then there was the first real zinger:
“Bobby is helping to change that.” (coffee all over my laptop.) “He’s honest and competent.” (Paper towels! Give me more paper towels!) “He wants to make government leaner and smarter, not more bloated and intrusive.” (So, explain to me again how bringing in Goldman Sachs and all those consultant contracts translates to “leaner” and “less intrusive.”)
“We must stay on this path.” (That would be the path to the Second Louisiana Purchase?)
“And second, to help Bobby become as engaged and bold as possible in his second term, we need a more conservative legislature, particularly in the State Senate.” (If he becomes any more engaged and bolder, we’ll be selling the Old Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge along with the Evangeline Oak in St. Martinville.)
You may have noticed that he never identifies Jindal by any name but Bobby. The only way one would know that it is Jindal is by reading the subject line of the email: “Jindal for Governor, with a Conservative Legislature to Boot.”
Apparently they’re real buds.
Such good buds that while Jindal was gallivanting all over the Continental U.S. last fall to campaign for Republican candidates in congressional and gubernatorial elections, he steadfastly refused to acknowledge Vitter’s candidacy for re-election, let alone endorse him. Jindal somehow managed to completely ignore the fact that there was even a Senatorial election in Louisiana while at the same time vigorously campaigning for candidates in other states.
And therein lies the irony. Is this Vitter’s not-so-subtle way of sending a message that he’s a better man than Jindal and he’s demonstrating it by doing for the governor what the governor refused to do for Vitter a year ago? “While you were snotty to me, I’m taking the high road.”
If so, that would have to grate greatly with Jindal. To be publicly shown up by the man he must truly despise would have to eat at the governor.
Bitter irony for Jindal, side-splitting spectator sport for political junkies.
Vitter goes on in his email:
“To achieve this, I’d strongly encourage you to support a group I helped found—the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority.” (Whew, for a second there, we were thinking about another group, but that would probably be illegal.)
“In just a few years, this group helped achieve majorities in the State House and Senate.” (Hmm, maybe it was that other group after all.) “But we can go even further [and with several Rinos or Republicans In Name Only, particularly in the State Senate, we need to]. With your help, we will. (Hey, David, how about FVINO? That would be Family Values In Name Only.)
“We’re one of only four states with major elections this year. (Got that spelling right again. Good boy.) So all of these victories can really help build conservative momentum for 2012 nationally as well.”
“Please join me in these important efforts. They will truly be critical in defining the Louisiana—and America—we leave to our kids and grandkids.
“Thank you again for your partnership.” (One thing you can say for Vitter: he’s not short on brass in assuming we have some sort of partnership.)
He goes on:
“If you can, please consider a personal contribution in any amount up to $2500 to the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority.
“I am asking for a donation of up to $2,500 per election from an individual’s own funds, or up to $5,000 per election from a multicandidate PAC or a political party committee. I am not asking for funds from corporations, labor organizations, national banks, federal government contractors, or foreign nationals. (Well, Senator, just who do you think contributes to these PACs and political party committees?)
Just for sport, we did a quick search—all the way back to 1990—and found that David Vitter did indeed put his money where his mouth is—just not as much as he’s asking us to put.
Way back on Dec. 29, 2006, David Vitter gave a whopping $50 to the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority.
That’s it. Fifty bucks. Almost five years ago. $50.
That wouldn’t even get a brusque “get lost,” much less a friendly “hello, new in town?” from one of those Washington, D.C., hookers.